Avoir is one of the most important verbs in the French language. It’s pretty much impossible to go a day without using the verb as it is used in many tenses and expressions. 

This blog post dives into the most common French expressions that use the verb avoir. 

How to conjugate avoir in French

The meaning of the verb “avoir” is to have. It is an irregular verb, meaning that it does not follow the usual French verb patterns. Here is how it is conjugated in the present tense: 







Tu as

Il /elle / on a

Nous avons

Vous avez 

Ils / elles ont






The verb "avoir" in French . j'ai tu as il a nous avons vous avez ils ont


Common Expressions using avoir in French

Expressing age in French: Avoir… ans

A common mistake in French recurs in a very simple sentence. When saying their age, learners (especially English natives) tend to use être (to be) rather than avoir (to have). 

Quel âge as-tu? 
How old are you?  

Literally translate to: which age do you have? 

We say “J’ai trente ans” rather than “Je suis trente ans”. 



Feelings and emotions with avoir

Many expressions surrounding feelings and emotions in English use the verb to be followed by an adjective. However, in French, those same expressions are formed with avoir followed by a noun. 

Avoir faim – to be hungry

J’ai faim, on mange quand? 
I’m hungry, when do we eat? 

Avoir soif – to be thirsty

T’as de l’eau? J’ai soif.
Do you have water? I’m thirsty.

Avoir peur de – to be scared of

Elle a peur de l’eau donc elle (ne) vient pas avec nous. 
She’s scared of water so she’s not coming with us. 

Avoir froid – to be cold 

T’as pas froid? Tu aurais dû prendre une veste.
Aren’t you cold? You should have taken a jacket. 

Avoir chaud – to be hot

J’ai tellement chaud! 
I feel so hot!

Avoir sommeil – to be sleepy

Je vais dormir, j’ai sommeil. 
I’m going to sleep, I’m sleepy. 

Avoir honte de – to be ashamed of

Je pense qu’elle a honte de ce qu’elle a fait.
I think she’s ashamed of what she’s done. 

Other Expressions with Avoir

Avoir besoin de – to need

Elle a besoin de beaucoup de courage pour changer sa vie comme ça.
She needs a lot of bravery to change her life like that.

Avoir raison – to be right

T’as raison, je me suis trompé!
You are right, I got it wrong. 

Avoir tort – to be wrong

Il a complètement tort mais il ne l’accepte pas.
He’s completely wrong but he doesn’t accept it. 

Avoir de la chance – to be lucky

On a eu beaucoup de chance. 
We were very lucky. 

Avoir envie de – to feel like/ to want

J’ai vraiment envie d’un croissant. 
I really feel like a croissant. 

Avoir l’air in French

Avoir l’air directly translates to “to have the air”. It is a bit strange to learners at first, but it can be extremely useful. 

Its real meaning is “to seem” or “to look like”.

J’ai l’air d’un clown avec ce pantalon.
I look like a clown with these trousers. 

Tu as l’air fatigué, ça va?
You seem tired, are you okay?

all conjugations of the French verb avoir







If you liked this post, here are a few things you can do to support me:

* Leave a comment below with the most useful verbs in this list

* Share this post with a friend or Pin it on Pinterest

* Sign up to my newsletter below so you don’t miss any discounts or freebies 




Scroll to Top